Several in contention to be Brewers' skipper

Several in contention to be Brewers' skipper

Here's what we know: The Brewers' next managerial hire is an important one for general manager Doug Melvin, who has two years remaining on his contract.

But we don't know much else. Two weeks after Melvin dismissed Ken Macha, we still don't know exactly what the Brewers are looking for in their next skipper. Melvin is keeping the process behind closed doors, and the list of candidates that has emerged in reports offers few clues about his plan.

"There are a lot of qualities involved with a manager," Melvin said on Oct. 4, the last time he met with reporters. "Do you want an older guy? A younger guy? A proven guy? Obviously, to get a guy who's won more games than Ken Macha is going to be tough. ... That's going to be hard to find."

Five have interviewed. Two of them were Eric Wedge, who was named the Mariners' manager on Monday, and Dodgers coach Tim Wallach, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel speculated that Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke may have been a third.

Pat Listach, the Nationals' third-base coach and 1992 American League Rookie of the Year for the Brewers, interviewed on Tuesday. Former Brewers coach and Mariners and D-backs manager Bob Melvin sat down with Doug Melvin on Wednesday, ESPN reported.

White Sox bench coach Joey Cora will interview with the Brewers "soon," the Chicago Tribune said, after Milwaukee received permission to speak with Ozzie Guillen's top aide.

And at least three others have had conversations with Doug Melvin but they weren't necessarily interviews: former Brewers player/coach/front office official and Astros manager Cecil Cooper, former Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel and former Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine.

That's quite a mix. Wedge, Bob Melvin, Cooper, Samuel and Valentine have all managed in the Major Leagues. Wallach, Roenicke, Listach and Cora have not. Wedge, Cora and Melvin are in their 40s; Wallach, Roenicke and Listach are in their 50s; and Cooper and Valentine are in their 60s.

Here's a snapshot of the men mentioned amid Milwaukee's managerial search, in alphabetical order:

Cooper: One of the best players in Brewers history, Cooper, 61, worked in Milwaukee's scouting department before joining the staff as bench coach in 2002 after the team fired manager Davey Lopes. Cooper managed Milwaukee's Triple-A club in 2003-04 before moving to Houston to be bench coach and then manager. The Astros were 171-170 under Cooper in parts of three seasons.

Cooper has made clear his interest in the Brewers' vacancy, for which he also interviewed in 2002. It's unclear whether the interest is mutual.

Cora: The 45-year-old managed three seasons in the Minors, spanning 272 games, and has served as Guillen's bench coach in Chicago for seven seasons.

Listach: Best known to Brewers fans for winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1992, when he stole 54 bases for Milwaukee and edged Cleveland's Kenny Lofton for the honor. Listach never played more than 101 games in any of his five subsequent Major League seasons but is mounting a comeback as a manager and coach. He skippered in the Cubs' system in 2002 and 2006-08, winning Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors in '08 at Triple-A Iowa. He spent the past two seasons as the Nationals' third-base coach.

Listach said the interview with Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash went well and that the three discussed everything from the Major League roster to player development.

"It's was tremendous," Listach said. "The interview was well-planned. They asked the right questions. It was very detailed."

Bob Melvin: Considered a "favorite" for the Milwaukee job, if you believe the reports. Melvin, 48, served as Milwaukee's bench coach under Phil Garner during the 1990s, then managed the Mariners from 2003-04 and the D-backs from 2005-09, going 493-508 during those seven seasons and 1,001 regular season games. He was the National League Manager of the Year in 2007 after leading Arizona to a 90-win season with an anemic offense but was let go after a 12-17 start in 2009.

"I don't want to get into it too much, but I would say I am very excited about this opportunity to interview," Melvin told the Journal Sentinel prior to his meeting.

Roenicke: The former outfielder played 527 games over eight Major League seasons for six different teams, but he has made his Major League mark mostly as coach under Angels manager Mike Scioscia since 2000. Roenicke, 54, was promoted to bench coach in 2006 when the Rays hired away Joe Maddon, but he has also managed six seasons and 643 games in the Minor Leagues.

Samuel: The 49-year-old managed 51 games for Baltimore in 2010 before the Orioles hired Buck Showalter for the full-time job. The Baltimore Sun first linked Samuel to Milwaukee, but it's not known whether he has formally interviewed.

Valentine: He has informally spoken with Melvin, Valentine told a radio audience last week. The 60-year-old has managed more than 3,000 games for the Rangers, Mets and Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines, but the question is whether the Brewers could convince him to leave a comfortable analyst gig at ESPN.

Wallach: The 53-year-old will have a job in the Major Leagues next season regardless of whether he's hired by a team as a manager. The Dodgers have reportedly signed Wallach to fill a yet-to-be-determined spot -- likely third base coach -- on incoming manager Don Mattingly's staff. The Blue Jays wanted to interview Wallach but were denied, apparently because Wallach's contract with L.A. limits him to speak to a select group of teams. He previously served as the Dodgers' hitting coach, and in 2009 won Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors while at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Next to Cooper, Wallach is the most accomplished former Major League player on the Brewers' radar, with 17 seasons, five All-Star appearances and three Gold Gloves on his resume. Wallach played for the Expos, Dodgers and Angels from 1980-96.

Back to something we know: Melvin wants his next managerial pick to stick around for a while.

"I've been a GM for 15 years and I've only let two managers go," Melvin said. "There's [something to having] stability. People want to know why the Minnesota Twins have had success. They have a lot of stability. They've had two managers in 30 years."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.